Weekly Message from Principal Albright
Our first sizeable field trips take off this week, with our 6th graders heading over to Hemlock in Virginia for team activities, each team taking one day. A science field trip on Team Geneva lands at the Air and Space Museum, and more are in the making. Each field trip is vetted by the administrative team to ensure that it meets the particular extra- or co-curricular goals of the team, the class, the club, or the school (with the exception of our end of the year celebrations!). The reason we take these trips seriously is because living in Washington DC provides some significant opportunities for students. Not being in school has a cost, of course, and thus the review process.
This raises another issue, attendance. Far down this bulletin to the left is a description of the new DCPS attendance policy. Like last year, students can only be excused from school for medical or religious reasons (with some other reasons, far less frequent, itemized as well). We take attendance with all the seriousness it deserves, and the penalties for students missing school is severe. We are talking about unexcused absences at this point – family trips, keeping a child at home as caregiver or for some other familial purpose, or not ensuring that the student actually gets to school at all. Our job, collectively, is to educate children to be tomorrow’s adults and leaders. If they are not at school, or not at school on time, this will not happen.
It is remarkable the number of children in DCPS that miss school. Although the numbers are much lower at Deal, there are a number of students that don’t make it in. Attendance is the single greatest predictor of dropping out in high school. This year, the school is required to have teachers (or the school) call with each absence; the third absence will get a call from the Chancellor (or designee), the fifth absence will require a family meeting with social worker and attendance counselor, the police send out a letter on the seventh absence, and by the tenth absence, child and family services are called. This is the procedure and we will follow it.
But my promise is that we aren’t going to sit around and wait for a student to be unserved. If we are moving up the absence “ladder,” my team will be reaching out early to let families know what is coming. The correct thing to do is to not let it get to a point where you are having your child leave school or not show up for just any reason – but we are here to help remind you how serious that charge is.
And why would someone want their child to miss school? Look below to the right – the incredibly rich array of activities that accompanies our strong curriculum and teaching staff. This year there are 11 distinct music clubs or ensembles, not counting performances. Debate, sports, robotics, homework help – well, you can read the list yourself. We need to keep every child focused on learning while they are here in the building, loving their time here, and preparing for it when they are home. With our addition of Period 8 this fall, we are even seeking ways to give interested students and families a way to interact with some of our most dynamic teachers online. All this for those who attend Deal!
Thank you for doing your part – we will keeping working on ours.
Welcome to the 2013-2014 School Year
from the Deal PTA!
The Theme of this Coming School Year is: BUILDING COMMUNITY!
We hope you are enjoying summer and getting ready to play an active role in our school’s community. Deal’s middle school program continues to be strong! The Deal PTA plays an important role in supporting this great school by working hard to provide the “extras” that enrich our children’s educational experience.
Support the PTA! The PTA depends on family participation and your contributions fund clubs, sports teams as well as the annual musical production. PTA contributions also support important programs for all of our students throughout the year, from the Sixth-Grade Orientation and the annual team-building trip for our youngest students, to the Eighth-Grade Promotion ceremony. PTA contributions provide grants to teachers to buy supplies to support classroom instruction, technology, Viking Time and other student activities. In addition, the PTA provides funding for the Deal directory, website, newsletters, parent education workshops, books for the library and improvements to the building and grounds. We can make so much happen, with every family’s support.
To reach that goal in providing these important programs, activities, grants and supplies, we need to raise approximately $170,000. That amount might sound daunting but, in fact, it represents only about $15 per student per month over the upcoming school year. This is your PTA and we ask that you support the PTA and be as generous as possible. The suggested contribution is $150 per student and we encourage you to give more if you can; however, no contribution is too small. It is your participation and support that ensures a great Deal and builds our sense of community for Deal’s students, parents, families, faculty, administrators and staff.
In addition to fundraising, the Deal PTA also works to provide information and to open avenues of communication among Deal parents, the school administration and the larger community. There are many ways for you to find out what’s happening at Deal:
- Join the Email List
This is the only way to receive Principal Albright’s indispensible Weekly Bulletin. This will ensure that you get the PTA newsletter and all announcements via Constant Contact throughout the year.
- Read the PTA newsletter, which is published electronically four times a year.
- Visit the website, www.alicedeal.org for current news and information.
Get involved! This is a critical time in your child’s development and education, and middle school students are not as easily accessible as elementary students. Unlike in elementary school, teachers are not asking for classroom volunteers or art assistants and parents are not meeting each other on the playground or at play dates. When parents volunteer for school activities at Deal, it gives them a chance to be a “fly on the wall,” and get an inside view into their kids’ school lives. The Deal PTA strives to provide many important opportunities to get involved. A list of these activities can be found HERE.
Our first PTA meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 3, 2013 at 6:30 P.M., prior to the sixth grade parent workshops. Please plan on joining us! Subsequent PTA meetings are planned for Wednesdays, Oct. 2nd and Nov. 20, 2013, during the first semester, and Wednesdays, March 19th and May 21, 2013, during the second semester. We will provide more detailed information about the agenda before each meeting. Every meeting gives you a chance to ask questions, make suggestions, meet and talk with other parents and hear important information about what is happening at Deal and in our community.
We look forward to a wonderful school year. If you have any questions, or want to get involved, please contact us. The PTA needs you–we always welcome new faces and new ideas!
Cathy House, PTA Co-President
Addy Schmitt, PTA Co-President